Food truck ordinance approved

City Council passes bill; annual cost for licenses set at $150 a year

Food truck vendors will have to pay $150 for an annual operating license and follow all regulations established by Seymour City Council before they can set up and sell food in the city.

After going through several changes and being tabled for weeks to allow council members to study the issue, Ordinance 8, Council Bill No. 15, passed Monday. In the past, there have been no regulations in place for mobile food trucks.

The vote was 5-0. Councilman Shawn Malone abstained from voting, and Councilman Brian D’Arco was absent from the meeting.

Originally, the ordinance required food truck operators to pay $50 for a one-year license, but council President Jim Rebber said the amount was too low.

He said those who set up downtown for the annual Seymour Oktoberfest pay a much higher fee for just a few days. Rebber suggested the food truck license fee be increased to $250 per year, but his motion died for lack of a second.

Malone said in his research, he found Bloomington and Columbus charged between $200 and $250 for food trucks, and it went upwards of $350 in Greenwood and Indianapolis.

“We would be on the super low end of things at $50,” he said. “I agree with Councilman Rebber. I don’t feel like that’s a high enough number. I don’t feel like we’re gaining much from it.”

Councilman Matt Nicholson then made a motion to set the fee at $150, which passed.

Rebber also questioned who would enforce the new ordinance.

According to the regulations, food trucks are not allowed to park in city parking lots without approval from the board of public works. They also cannot operate within 50 feet of a brick and mortar restaurant and within one block of a special event or festival without prior consent to do so.

Other rules are food trucks may not operate in such a way that would endanger the safety or property of the public. They also may not park within 20 feet of a bus stop, a crosswalk, a driveway, an alleyway, a building entrance or within 15 feet of a fire hydrant.

A copy of the entire ordinance is available at city hall.

City attorney Rodney Farrow said the city’s ordinance administrator, Brent Goben, would have the duty of enforcing the law and could issue citations for anyone not in compliance. That includes having other necessary permits from the health department, disposing of their own trash and keeping areas where they are parked clean.

Fines start at $100 and increase to $250 for the second violation and $500 for the third violation and any thereafter.

Councilman Dave Earley said since the ordinance is new, it might need changes in the future, but he felt it was important to get something in place now to help regulate what has become a popular trend in bigger cities.

The discussion on food trucks and the need for regulations came about after two vendors, The Flying Pink Pig BBQ and Nacho Momma’s Mexican, asked to be allowed to set up in the city-owned Walnut Street Parking Lot on Friday evenings.

Two more trucks, The Lunch Box and Haywood BBQ, just recently joined Food Truck Fridays.

“I think we’ll see more and more food trucks,” Malone said. “All we’re doing is trying to find things we could add to this that everyone felt like was still good for the community, good for the food trucks and good for everyone all around. I think we’re getting there.”

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.